Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet

We’ve all seen this passage, typically used to show off design or typography without adding any content. However, the content is quite interesting. Cicero denounces sacrifice and upholds rational egoism. Here is the full passage, translated by H. Rackman.

Read on for the translation.

But I must explain to you how all this mistaken idea of denouncing pleasure and praising pain was born and I will give you a complete account of the system, and expound the actual teachings of the great explorer of the truth, the master-builder of human happiness. No one rejects, dislikes, or avoids pleasure itself, because it is pleasure, but because those who do not know how to pursue pleasure rationally encounter consequences that are extremely painful. Nor again is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, but because occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him some great pleasure. To take a trivial example, which of us ever undertakes laborious physical exercise, except to obtain some advantage from it? But who has any right to find fault with a man who chooses to enjoy a pleasure that has no annoying consequences, or one who avoids a pain that produces no resultant pleasure?”

On the other hand, we denounce with righteous indignation and dislike men who are so beguiled and demoralized by the charms of pleasure of the moment, so blinded by desire, that they cannot foresee the pain and trouble that are bound to ensue; and equal blame belongs to those who fail in their duty through weakness of will, which is the same as saying through shrinking from toil and pain. These cases are perfectly simple and easy to distinguish. In a free hour, when our power of choice is untrammelled and when nothing prevents our being able to do what we like best, every pleasure is to be welcomed and every pain avoided. But in certain circumstances and owing to the claims of duty or the obligations of business it will frequently occur that pleasures have to be repudiated and annoyances accepted. The wise man therefore always holds in these matters to this principle of selection: he rejects pleasures to secure other greater pleasures, or else he endures pains to avoid worse pains.

One Response to “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet”

  1. On April 2nd, 2004 at 16:03:15, Eric Said:

    I’ve been doing a lot of graphic design lately, and always wondered what the “filler text” meant, if anything. Knowing the translation is very helpful.

    Thanks for taking the time to post it!

    I’ve been thinking about what an “ethical” existence would feel like, and whether most people could gravitate toward it. With the current state of affairs in every imaginable dimension, something has to shift. It would seem that “discovering” ethics might be a start — but how to begin? Good luck with your new essay.

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated like crazy using a variety of plugins. There is a very high likelihood that your comment won't show up right away, especially if you have never commented here before, but it was not deleted.

Please be patient, and do not post your comment more than once. It will show up once it is approved.

You must be logged in to post a comment.